The Obscurities of the Simulator Genre

I’ve written this article to bring to your attention some of the Simulation games that some of you are missing out on, so, if you play Flight Simulator on realistic mode, or you have to see through the Formula One games for a full season, or have even forced yourself to finish Le Mans on 24 hours, then perhaps these are some of the games out there for you, but you never even considered it!

The Simulator genre was one with very humble beginnings, when little else but Flight Simulators and train games ruled the genre, it wasn’t really until a little game called SimCity came along in 1989, that the Simulator genre as we knew it had completely evolved.

Will Wright could not have known that his idea would live on for decades to come, Maxis however saw the potential of Simulators and milked the genre for all it was worth; eventually spawning a whole line of ‘Sim’ titles. These games have made history, but what I want to highlight is perhaps the games that you haven’t heard of, the more obscure Simulators that most gamers do not know exist.

The Simulation genre is worth billions for titles such as The Sims, which, as a franchise has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, however for every Sims you’ve got a Ship Simulator that may not reach millions of PC users but fulfils a niche market that has fans spread across the world; particularly Europe, where most Simulators are made.

There are two main issues to why most gamers do not appreciate the obscurest of Simulators; most make wise remarks about Simulators like Forklift Truck Simulator, but how many of those loved Shenmue, and it’s forklift truck segments, how many fans does Harvest Moon have; yet none of them would know that titles like SimFarm or Astragon’s Farming Simulator exist, Simulation games are not accepted in the mainstream gaming channels simply for their stigma of being uncool, they are regarded as the games for the true anorak, if gamers sat down without the pre-conceptions that exist, then most would find that in fact, a lot of the games are quite enjoyable.

The next big argument is that they are far too slow, the gameplay does not flow as fast as gamers expect them to, unfortunately a Simulator game is made for that exact reason; if you were playing a Racing Simulator like Forza Motorsport, and your un-modded Ford Pickup was clocking in at 200mph, you’d be a little worried, the whole point of a Simulator is to convey an aspect of life or work, accurately portrayed in a way so that the gamer can experience how that aspect works in real life, unfortunately to most gamers’ dismay the Simulator genre requires more than a couple of hours of investment to really get a feel of the game.